Live from Quickbooks Connect hackathon

I’m feeling especially creative this morning. I blame it on the time change and getting an extra hour of sleep. So today I’m at the Quickbooks Connect hackathon sponsored by Intuit. My only ideas this morning are about challenging my comfort zone in a new way.

I want to blog this hackathon experience and show how I hack. This IS MY idea.

First challenge of the day: I need some suggestions on what to build. Send me ideas on Twitter at @dothewww. I’m going to continue updating this blog post with my experience throughout the day.

9:30am Breakfast – this is a good start for the day



9:53am A view from from the corner


10:20am Panel

Robert Tabz, owner of Jougert talks about running his small business. Pain point, working with vendors and having to buy more quantity of supplies than he has room for. He would pay more for less, but vendors don’t offer that option.

Connie Ellis, Owner of SimplyFJB, sharing that small business don’t have business plans or know what they will be doing in the future.

Asad Ramzanali, manager of CFSI, There are processes around reporting earnings in a non-profit entity.  Spends a week of manpower every 6 weeks to pull financials and accounting time. 3 days to 2 weeks spent on reporting.

Naomi Kinsman, Founder of Society for Young Inklings talked about the challenges of accounting for book donations.

London Delicath, Owner of School of Rock, talks about drive-bys or word of mouth referrals as discovery methods that brick and mortar business typically have. Took about a year for organic social media engagement. Chose not to use Yelp because she hasn’t received a glowing review.

Panel agrees that reconciliation of expenses and managing receipts is avoided like the plague. There are tons of tools that make this easier, but we still don’t like doing it.

3/4 of School of Rock clients are auto payments.

Naomi: Managing volunteers can take more time and effort than is gained from having them help. I rather do it myself than have to setup a computer and license for someone to do perform a task.

Starting a new business is scary. You are in the trenches. You don’t want to fail. The biggest risk is the one you haven’t taken.


12:15pm Lunch – turkey, roast beef, kale, salad, too many choices…let’s just eat!


12:28pm – Plan A (aka Idea #1) isn’t gonna work

After talking with several of the panelists about my initial idea of a CRM, realizing it won’t really work as I thought. Waiting for the first breakout session to see the value of Quickbooks Online.

1:15pm – Do you speak Node.js?

Doesn’t look like there’s a Node.js library. I’ll have to use PHP. [edit, looks like there’s an unofficial Node.js module]


2:10pm – OAuth troubles

Feels like deja vu. OAuth troubles again this year.


2:35pm – Time to hard code the credentials

Time to hard code the OAuth token credentials and keep this train moving.

3:16pm – We’ve got sales

Aggregating and totaling sales amounts by the hour. Check!


3:34pm – Vegetarian soft pretzel? Okay!



3:52pm – Time to go a little deeper and access the hardware…


5:08pm – Everyone is accounted for…but sales are slow…



5:35pm – LCD screen connected…


7:41pm Network gremlins…grr

Internet connected devices act funny when the network doesn’t behave. Device is now reporting headcount to the Internet of Things Foundation service. Yay!


8:11pm Score! Just won the unicorn slippers!



9:14pm – Storing the headcounts into a Cloudant DB. Getting there…


10:14pm – I’m still awake…but this bean bag is really comfo…zzzzz


10:48pm – “You might be able to do that in a round about way…”. In other words, that means a lot of data manipulation?


11:25pm – Time for the last piece of data. Using employee time sheets to determine how many employees are on duty during a time period.


Day 2: 11:47am – Have data, will chart it


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